I have just been trying to find some good articles on the property developer Mike Markham and Mayor Lenn Brown, I found some great ones, mostly from the National Business Review.The articles are linked below:
Mike Markham Quotes:
“Relieved developer Mike Markham – who had delayed onsite work for a month to allow further heritage assessment – told NBR the challenge had cost “an awful lot of money”. He was glad it was now over and work could proceed.”
“We were right all along,” Mr Markham said.
“Ancona Group’s investment in the project is substantial. A statement to the court last week by Mr Markham said the project costs so far have been $1.5 million, while the overall cost of the proposed office, shops and apartment project stands at $11 million.”
This means developer Michael Markham will be able to continue with the demolition of the controversial buildings and go ahead with plans for a three story mixed-use development which will take up the entire eastern side of the street.
Richard Brabant, the lawyer for the developers Mike and Sandra Markham, said the couple were happy to be able to proceed with their development.
Brabant says the Environment Court was obliged to reach the decision it did because there was no evidence the houses were of any heritage value.
He says he has yet to talk to Mr and Mrs Markham about whether they will seek compensation from the society for the “significant legal costs” the couple have incurred.
Lenn Brown Quotes:
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said on Monday there is no affordable way to save the cottages from demolition.
He had sought a delay to the demolition after councillors turned down an attempt to place a heritage order on the buildings by a vote of 14-7 on December 16.
“Absolutely everything that could be reasonably and legally done was done in this case, but unfortunately that was not enough.”
A letter to councillors from Council Chief Executive Doug McKay said there was no evidential basis to impose or seek heritage orders to protected the buildings.
Buying or shifting the cottages would likely cost in excess of $10m, he said.
“The preferred position is to allow the developer to progress his approved and consented development.
“There is no appetite for spending this amount of money, is the sense I have from feedback to date.”
Mayor Brown said yesterday the developer would only sell the buildings for more than $10 million which made it too expensive and claimed a heritage order was not valid. “That decision would have resulted in the council being taken to court and potentially ended up costing ratepayers millions of dollars,” Mr Brown said.
In an official memo issued by Mr McKay on December 24 he stated there was no “reasonable basis” to halt demolition of the buildings, based on a 2004 heritage report. On Friday the council voted that there was not enough reason to order heritage protection and they could be demolished. Moving the buildings could cost the council $2.5 million and buying the site was estimated at $5 million…
Protest group Save Our St Heliers was devestated by Mr Brown’s decision. It had implemented a roster to keep vigil outside the buildings in case a wreckers ball was to be swung yesterday.
“We are outraged that the mayor states that there have been negotiations that included local residents. At no time have the residents been able to speak to the mayor personally. The talks have all been between the council and the site owners Mike and Sandra Markham behind closed doors,” Save Our St Heliers spokeswoman Dorothy McHattie said.
But it did not take long for the mettle of Brown’s leadership to be tested. First came the Turua St heritage uproar in St Heliers, followed by the establishment of the Maori Statutory Board. Brown says Turua St was about the “ethics of politics”. Instead of backing the community, he backed the process. The developer had consent to demolish the houses and Brown stood by the decision against the wishes of the community and some councillors.
The Mayor has expressed his regret that Auckland Council has apparently not been able to find an affordable way to save three houses in St Heliers despite weeks of hard work and negotiations between the council, the developer and local residents.
Len Brown says he is determined that this kind of issue not be repeated and to ensure the Auckland Plan protects our built heritage.
“Auckland Council’s hands were tied because of decisions of the Environment Court and previous councils,” the Mayor says. “Absolutely everything that could be reasonably and legally be done was done in this case, but unfortunately, that was not enough.
Len Brown says in the end the developer would only sell all of his properties in the area in one block, for a price which included full recovery of costs and margin. “That could have cost more than $10 million.
“While you can’t put a price on preserving our city’s heritage, it is difficult to justify this sort of unplanned cost.”
The possibility of including the facades of the properties in the new development was also discussed, but unfortunately, agreement could not be reached on that either.
It has been suggested that a heritage order could save the properties. “Auckland Council staff spent a great deal of time looking at this, but it was clear the buildings did not have the heritage qualities necessary to issue a heritage order and once again, that decision would have resulted in the council being taken to court and potentially ended up costing ratepayers millions of dollars.“
“We have done everything we could have, given the outcome of the process to date, including the plan change which was handed down by the Environment Court,” says the Mayor. “We will do everything reasonable in our power to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
I have also found a great article on both the Maheke Monster and Turua Street property.
“If people like Mr Sheffield and Mr Markham are determined to rescale St Heliers then they should expect many members of the community will feel very hostile to their businesses….
Mr Sheffield said yesterday it was incorrect to say he was having difficulty finding tenants for his commercial, retail and residential development.
“I have had enough of the community and the building,” he said.
Mr Sheffield opposed the St Heliers Village Centre Plan that aimed to preserve traditional structures and groups of character buildings.
In 2007 he said it was important to allow development to prevent stagnation.
“I don’t believe you can freeze the built-in environment. Otherwise we’d end up working out of weatherboard fishing shacks,” he said at the time.
Yesterday at the Village Co-op cafe next door to the Maheke St development, St Heliers resident Joan Howie said the new building was jinxed.
“It’s hideous. It’s empty. What does that say?”
My article is going to focus on Turua Street but also mention Maheke Monster and future development of St Heliers – all these articles are great, my teacher Merja said if I found a good quote from Mike Markham or Lenn Brown from an online article I could quote them. Which is great – but this also got me thinking could I contact Mike Markham directly ? Maybe send him a letter or email – I will try and get a quote from him – probably wont be able to though.
Have some really good information now! Almost ready to start writing!